"We have met the enemy... and he is us"
receive many inquiries concerning this quote, so perhaps this page will answer
most questions, and explain the origins.
From the foreword to The Pogo Papers, Copyright 1952-53
"The publishers of this book, phrenologists of note,
have laid hands upon the author’s head and report the following vibrations:
Herein can be found that rare native tree, the Presidential
Timber, struck down in mid-sprout by the jawbone of a politician. Pogo returns
to the swamp from a couple of political conventions to find his unfinished
business being rapidly finished, once and for all, by rough and ready hands.
With that much information you are about as well equipped as
anybody to plunge into the still waters of the Okefenokee Swamp, home of the
Pogo people. The activities in this present book were spread shamelessly over
the past drought-ridden year. Looking back across the fertilizer, small shafts
of green can be seen here and there, while off in the distance wisps of smoke
denote the harvesters at work.
Some nature lovers may inquire as to the identity of a few
creatures here portrayed. On this point field workers are in some dispute.
Specializations and markings of individuals everywhere abound
in such profusion that major idiosyncracies can be properly ascribed to the
mass*. Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what
we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are
ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits
become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation
and the desire to join battle.
There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that
those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand.
Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast
on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may
*Quimby’s Law. (Passed by the Town of Quimby after the
Trouble with Harold Porch in 1897)"
first used the quote "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us" on a poster
for Earth Day in 1970. The poster is shown above. In 1971, he did a two panel
version with Pogo and Porky in a trash filled swamp. This is the only example I
know of with a balloon, indicating Pogo responding to Porky with "YEP, SON,
WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US." In 1972, it was the title of a book, Pogo:
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us. OGPI had the version shown to the right
produced for the Waycross, Georgia Pogofest in 1998 as a brass plate on a wooden